State of our Gulf 2017 Hauraki Gulf - Tīkapa Moana / Te moana-nui-ā-toi. State of the environment report 2017

Hauraki Gulf Forum
Hauraki Gulf Forum
Publication date:

The 2017 state of the environment report for the Hauraki Gulf.

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has now prepared its fifth triennial Report on the State of the Environment of the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moana-nui-ā-Toi, including information on the progress being made towards integrated management.

The 2017 Report shows that sufficient knowledge has now been assembled and verified to draw robust conclusions about some significant issues, sufficient to warrant prescriptive programmes of action, including statutory and regulatory initiatives, to restore the outstanding life-supporting capacity of the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moana-nui-a-Toi. It is not surprising that the report confirms some simple truths about the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moana-nui-ā-Toi, its waters, islands, catchments and life:

• Everything is connected. What happens in one place or realm affects all others. An action in one place may have distant or unforeseen effects.
• The Gulf, islands and catchments are diverse, bountiful and rich ecosystems and habitats that are naturally robust and productive.
• Almost all areas are naturally degraded and damaged by human activity, yet they retain resilience, and are demonstrably restorable.

This foreword focusses on 10 strategic issues needing political attention. They are not the only matters requiring action, but left unresolved these matters present barriers to the Hauraki Gulf Forum achieving its statutory goals. The first points, review the 2017 state of the environment – physical and cultural. These are the fundamental building blocks of the life-supporting capacity and environmental resilience of Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moana-nui-ā-Toi and the interrelationship between the Gulf, its islands, and catchments. The final points deal with governance machinery. They address the progress being made towards integrated management among the governing decision-makers in Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moana-nui-ā-Toi. The Forum wishes in particular to bring these matters to your attention as the Minister of Conservation and to other affected Ministers (including Fisheries, Agriculture, Crown/Māori Relations, and Environment) with a view to establishing an integrated programme of action across government and across the Crown, local government and iwi partners. (Foreword page 13)

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moana-nui-ā-Toi has been transformed over the last two human lifespans. Native terrestrial species have been driven to extinction, native forests and vast wetlands have been cleared and replaced with pastoral land or urban development, water quality has been greatly reduced by contaminants and sediment, ecologically important marine habitats have been destroyed, fish populations have been greatly depleted, and te ao Māori (the world of Māori) has been ruptured. Damage caused by boom and bust industries, such as mining, native forest logging, and mussel dredging has left a lasting environmental legacy. These historical effects have been compounded by ongoing development, commercial activity and a growing demand for the Gulf’s treasures.

Previous State of the Gulf reports (2011, 2014) found that most indicators pointed towards ongoing environmental degradation, with resources continuing to be gradually lost or suppressed. The reports called for bold, sustained, and innovative steps to be taken to improve the management of the Gulf’s resources and halt progressive environmental degradation.

In response, the Hauraki Gulf Forum developed a strategic framework for action and urged agencies to work collectively on making urgent progress in the following areas:

R  A regenerating network of marine protected areas and island sanctuaries
E  Enhancement of fisheries with improved environmental outcomes
M  Mana whenua relationships reflected in resource management practice
A  Active land management to minimise inputs of sediments, nutrients and contaminants
K  Knowledge utilisation within an ecosystem-based management framework

Much has happened since 2014. This report catalogues those changes, and considers progress made on integrating management and achieving the strategic outcomes sought by the Forum. (Executive summary page 29) 

See also

Report prepared for the Hauraki Gulf Forum by Coast & Catchment Ltd:

Kelly, S., Sim-Smith, C., Bartley, J., Cowie, B. and Murray, C.

Last updated: 2018-03-02